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Frenemies: The Epic Disruption of the Ad Business (and Everything Else)

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An intimate and profound reckoning with the changes buffeting the $2 trillion global advertising and marketing business from the perspective of its most powerful players, by the bestselling author of Googled Advertising and marketing touches on every corner of our lives, and is the invisible fuel powering almost all media. Complain about it though we might, without it the w An intimate and profound reckoning with the changes buffeting the $2 trillion global advertising and marketing business from the perspective of its most powerful players, by the bestselling author of Googled Advertising and marketing touches on every corner of our lives, and is the invisible fuel powering almost all media. Complain about it though we might, without it the world would be a darker place. And of all the industries wracked by change in the digital age, few have been turned on its head as dramatically as this one has. We are a long way from the days of Don Draper; as Mad Men is turned into Math Men (and women--though too few), as an instinctual art is transformed into a science, the old lions and their kingdoms are feeling real fear, however bravely they might roar. Frenemies is Ken Auletta's reckoning with an industry under existential assault. He enters the rooms of the ad world's most important players, some of them business partners, some adversaries, many "frenemies," a term whose ubiquitous use in this industry reveals the level of anxiety, as former allies become competitors, and accusations of kickbacks and corruption swirl. We meet the old guard, including Sir Martin Sorrell, the legendary head of WPP, the world's largest ad agency holding company; while others play nice with Facebook and Google, he rants, some say Lear-like, out on the heath. There is Irwin Gotlieb, maestro of the media agency GroupM, the most powerful media agency, but like all media agencies it is staring into the headlights as ad buying is more and more done by machine in the age of Oracle and IBM. We see the world from the vantage of its new powers, like Carolyn Everson, Facebook's head of Sales, and other brash and scrappy creatives who are driving change, as millennials and others who disdain ads as an interruption employ technology to zap them. We also peer into the future, looking at what is replacing traditional advertising. And throughout we follow the industry's peerless matchmaker, Michael Kassan, whose company, MediaLink, connects all these players together, serving as the industry's foremost power broker, a position which feasts on times of fear and change. Frenemies is essential reading, not simply because of what it says about this world, but because of the potential consequences: the survival of media as we know it depends on the money generated by advertising and marketing--revenue that is in peril in the face of technological changes and the fraying trust between the industry's key players.


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An intimate and profound reckoning with the changes buffeting the $2 trillion global advertising and marketing business from the perspective of its most powerful players, by the bestselling author of Googled Advertising and marketing touches on every corner of our lives, and is the invisible fuel powering almost all media. Complain about it though we might, without it the w An intimate and profound reckoning with the changes buffeting the $2 trillion global advertising and marketing business from the perspective of its most powerful players, by the bestselling author of Googled Advertising and marketing touches on every corner of our lives, and is the invisible fuel powering almost all media. Complain about it though we might, without it the world would be a darker place. And of all the industries wracked by change in the digital age, few have been turned on its head as dramatically as this one has. We are a long way from the days of Don Draper; as Mad Men is turned into Math Men (and women--though too few), as an instinctual art is transformed into a science, the old lions and their kingdoms are feeling real fear, however bravely they might roar. Frenemies is Ken Auletta's reckoning with an industry under existential assault. He enters the rooms of the ad world's most important players, some of them business partners, some adversaries, many "frenemies," a term whose ubiquitous use in this industry reveals the level of anxiety, as former allies become competitors, and accusations of kickbacks and corruption swirl. We meet the old guard, including Sir Martin Sorrell, the legendary head of WPP, the world's largest ad agency holding company; while others play nice with Facebook and Google, he rants, some say Lear-like, out on the heath. There is Irwin Gotlieb, maestro of the media agency GroupM, the most powerful media agency, but like all media agencies it is staring into the headlights as ad buying is more and more done by machine in the age of Oracle and IBM. We see the world from the vantage of its new powers, like Carolyn Everson, Facebook's head of Sales, and other brash and scrappy creatives who are driving change, as millennials and others who disdain ads as an interruption employ technology to zap them. We also peer into the future, looking at what is replacing traditional advertising. And throughout we follow the industry's peerless matchmaker, Michael Kassan, whose company, MediaLink, connects all these players together, serving as the industry's foremost power broker, a position which feasts on times of fear and change. Frenemies is essential reading, not simply because of what it says about this world, but because of the potential consequences: the survival of media as we know it depends on the money generated by advertising and marketing--revenue that is in peril in the face of technological changes and the fraying trust between the industry's key players.

30 review for Frenemies: The Epic Disruption of the Ad Business (and Everything Else)

  1. 5 out of 5

    Vikas

    This was just something I picked up as I was coming off of a lot of fiction and fantasy and wanted something different. Now I have nothing to do with any part of the Advertising and Marketing industry and I am firmly the consumer who is targeted with the ads and I use Adblockers in my browsers to block off those pesky ads and then pay for Youtube Premium and Netflix to not watch Ads during my videos. And then I go to youtube and watch random ads but that's more for entertainment. Because I have This was just something I picked up as I was coming off of a lot of fiction and fantasy and wanted something different. Now I have nothing to do with any part of the Advertising and Marketing industry and I am firmly the consumer who is targeted with the ads and I use Adblockers in my browsers to block off those pesky ads and then pay for Youtube Premium and Netflix to not watch Ads during my videos. And then I go to youtube and watch random ads but that's more for entertainment. Because I have absolutely no stake in the game it was just an observational book for me which showed the way the modern tech companies are encroaching upon and leading the charge in the ad business. Well so, in the end, all I can say is good to know after all the more you know the better. People who don't read generally ask me my reasons for reading. Simply put I just love reading and so to that end I have made it my motto to just Keep on Reading. I love to read everything except for Self Help books but even those once in a while. I read almost all the genre but YA, Fantasy, Biographies are the most. My favorite series is, of course, Harry Potter but then there are many more books that I just adore. I have bookcases filled with books which are waiting to be read so can't stay and spend more time in this review, so remember I loved reading this and love reading more, you should also read what you love and then just Keep on Reading.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Charlie

    A major disappointment. I was hoping this book would spend more time shedding light on the trends underlying the massive shifts transforming the media world, but alas was not to be. Just about everything shared in this book is common knowledge to everyone in the industry, so perhaps the target for this book is the general public. More than anything, the book conveys that Ken Auletta has made friends with some of the most influential folks in the media industry, from MediaLink/Kassan and Millard, A major disappointment. I was hoping this book would spend more time shedding light on the trends underlying the massive shifts transforming the media world, but alas was not to be. Just about everything shared in this book is common knowledge to everyone in the industry, so perhaps the target for this book is the general public. More than anything, the book conveys that Ken Auletta has made friends with some of the most influential folks in the media industry, from MediaLink/Kassan and Millard, to facebook/Everson, to WPP/Sorrell, to Publicis/Levy, Omnicom/Wren and a host of other luminaries. And when you take a few steps back after reading the book, you can't help but feel it is first and foremost an homage to Michael Kassan and MediaLink. Now Michael and MediaLink deserve all the love Auletta bestows upon them, but that doesn't make for an informative book. If you want a more compelling assessment of the media world, definitely go to Andrew Essex's "The End of Advertising" or Tim Wu's "The Attention Merchants".

  3. 4 out of 5

    Graeme Newell

    I’ve always enjoyed Ken Auletta’s books. He is one smart author and always provides deep insights into complex topics. This book dives deep into the world of media, entertainment and advertising. Seismic changes are happening as consumers seek to escape the legacy practice of interruption and annoyance marketing. Subscription services such as Hulu, Netflix and Amazon Prime are booming. More people than ever are willing to pay money each month just to escape the din of advertising’s assault on the I’ve always enjoyed Ken Auletta’s books. He is one smart author and always provides deep insights into complex topics. This book dives deep into the world of media, entertainment and advertising. Seismic changes are happening as consumers seek to escape the legacy practice of interruption and annoyance marketing. Subscription services such as Hulu, Netflix and Amazon Prime are booming. More people than ever are willing to pay money each month just to escape the din of advertising’s assault on the senses. This book is packed with amazing insights. Auletta reveals the many trends that are morphing the advertising landscape and the many new players eagerly seeking to carve out a share of the profits. I learned a lot, but this book took some real work to get through. Auletta’s other books did a great job of methodically guiding customers through a story. He masterfully made complicated topics understandable. Unfortunately, this book was rather disjointed. It is more a random collection of thoughts and observations on trends. It’s a shame because Auletta’s insights are quite prescient. The first half of the book is particularly cluttered, but it gets better in the second half. Despite its lack of narrative, this was a refreshingly smart book. I’m quite glad I read it. It definitely gave me new insights and has me looking at the world of media and advertising with a new perspective.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Tammy

    I gave this one star simply because I couldn't bring myself to finish reading it. There was nothing at all wrong with the writing, rather it just simply reminds you that often business is full of lying, corruption, and back door deals. For those of us who wish better for humanity, it was just truly depressing. I made it a third of the way through before I just decided that life is too short to read books that just make you want to toss them across the room. I gave this one star simply because I couldn't bring myself to finish reading it. There was nothing at all wrong with the writing, rather it just simply reminds you that often business is full of lying, corruption, and back door deals. For those of us who wish better for humanity, it was just truly depressing. I made it a third of the way through before I just decided that life is too short to read books that just make you want to toss them across the room.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Aagave

    Marginally useful if you want to understand the ad marketplace (reading Digiday, Recode, the WSJ, the FT, AdAge, and Adweek on a daily basis will give you the same stories with more detail, though perhaps less access to Michael Kassan...). Otherwise, a disappointingly not insightful read into an electric moment in advertising.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Todd Stockslager

    Review title: Mostly Mad Men, not everything else Pervasive high speed internet access and mobile phones able to deliver content to almost every pocket have disrupted the delivery of content and advertising in the last decade, a gathering storm of cultural change. The impacts of the change are still working their way though business, entertainment, news media, and regulatory organizations, as well as the advertising agencies and related companies as Auletta focuses on here. While the book jacket Review title: Mostly Mad Men, not everything else Pervasive high speed internet access and mobile phones able to deliver content to almost every pocket have disrupted the delivery of content and advertising in the last decade, a gathering storm of cultural change. The impacts of the change are still working their way though business, entertainment, news media, and regulatory organizations, as well as the advertising agencies and related companies as Auletta focuses on here. While the book jacket promises broader discussion of the impacts (I presumed the "everything else" of the subtitle) this book focuses tightly on advertising gossip and turmoil. Admittedly, advertising is key to the delivery of content. Since the beginning of newspaper publishing, then radio and television, advertising revenue has paid most or all of the cost of providing the content to its consumers. It seemed a fair trade of value for most of us most of the time. But then digital media, whether DVR'd content from a TV network or media streamed directly to a computer, tablet and now phone screen, gave us both the opportunity and the desire to see content without interruption. Now how do advertisers get their messages to consumers, how do ad agencies make and price advertisements, and how do networks, web pages, and other ad sellers price the space or time for them? In Auletta's account its a chaotic scramble for survival among each group, and it often leads to ugly competition, which is where Auletta spends most of his time. The flip side of the digital disruption is the presence of massive amounts of new and more detailed information about the consumer, the content and advertising they see, and the purchasing decisions they make based on it. Advertisers can know more about their customers, more about the success of their message, and better target messages to smaller groups and even individual consumers. But even these benefits come with chaos: new competitors like Facebook and Google, new players like big data companies (IBM is mentioned prominently), and new technologies like robotic ad buying and artificial intelligence. Again, Auletta focuses on how these changes impact the advertising industry. The broader cultural impacts of this tectonic shift are fascinating and impact all of us, from the relatively trivial like how we access television (cable became satellite became streaming service became on-demand) to the personally important like how much privacy do we really have when advertisers and data aggregators know hundreds of attributes about us, to the politically important like how much news reporting can we trust when we don't know its source or who paid for its content. While Auletta does mention these briefly, he only addresses their impacts on the ad business, not on the broader culture. This is one of those books I am rating lower not because it is badly written, but because it represents a failure in my selection process. I though Auletta would talk about the impacts that are still working their way though business, entertainment, news media, and regulatory organizations, but instead he focuses tightly on the Mad Men ad industry. If that is your interest, then you will rate this book higher.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Peter O'Kelly

    A couple reviews: • https://www.nytimes.com/2018/06/05/bo... • http://adage.com/article/opinion/fren... (Note that the criticism about the book not addressing the abrupt departure of Martin Sorrell, WPP's founder and former CEO and a central figure in the book, doesn't apply to the Kindle edition, which was updated after the dead-tree edition went to print.) Some excerpts/articles adapted from the book: • https://medium.com/s/story/the-battle... • http://niemanreports.org/articles/the... • https:/ A couple reviews: • https://www.nytimes.com/2018/06/05/bo... • http://adage.com/article/opinion/fren... (Note that the criticism about the book not addressing the abrupt departure of Martin Sorrell, WPP's founder and former CEO and a central figure in the book, doesn't apply to the Kindle edition, which was updated after the dead-tree edition went to print.) Some excerpts/articles adapted from the book: • https://medium.com/s/story/the-battle... • http://niemanreports.org/articles/the... • https://www.newyorker.com/news/annals... Related author interviews: • https://www.adweek.com/digital/qa-new... • http://adage.com/article/podcasts/fre... https://adexchanger.com/online-advert...

  8. 4 out of 5

    Tom Zacharski

    I don't know how many people I've recommended this book to now. Working at Google I found this book to be the closest ever to describing my daily job as the author tackles issues surrounding media agencies, creative agencies, consulting companies playing in the field of programmatic advertising, and, of course, the role Google and Facebook play in the entire media ecosystem. It's a very good read for anyone interested in what's going on in advertising and the media industries and how the usual b I don't know how many people I've recommended this book to now. Working at Google I found this book to be the closest ever to describing my daily job as the author tackles issues surrounding media agencies, creative agencies, consulting companies playing in the field of programmatic advertising, and, of course, the role Google and Facebook play in the entire media ecosystem. It's a very good read for anyone interested in what's going on in advertising and the media industries and how the usual business models are being disrupted by innovation and digital marketing. Ken Auletta brings the industry closer by profiling some of the biggest names in the industry - Sir Martin Sorrell, Michael Kassan, Irwin Goetlieb, Carolyn Everson, and many others. I was a bit disappointed not to see the Google names in there - the author explained it by saying he already wrote a full book about Google (indeed, "Googled 2.0"), however that was back in 2009 and in those nearly 10 years a lot has changed in the industry. Nonetheless - great read for anyone in the industry, highly recommended!

  9. 4 out of 5

    Patrick Pilz

    I liked his 'Googled' book a lot. This book was a little much for me. A mixture of soap opera and business book in the context of advertisement, commercials and promotion in general. As a non-fiction book, it does not really emphasize enough the business aspects and provides little help to the reader to decide better where to spend the advertisement dollars. Instead, the book highlights betrayal, complexity and the life stories of the dominant players in the sector. If you are a marketing profess I liked his 'Googled' book a lot. This book was a little much for me. A mixture of soap opera and business book in the context of advertisement, commercials and promotion in general. As a non-fiction book, it does not really emphasize enough the business aspects and provides little help to the reader to decide better where to spend the advertisement dollars. Instead, the book highlights betrayal, complexity and the life stories of the dominant players in the sector. If you are a marketing professional AND you are working for one of the Fortune 500 companies, you may get a kick out of this one.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Adriana

    I was interested in the topic and the guy is obviously an expert, but it was too "inside baseball" for it to be useful to me. I was interested in the topic and the guy is obviously an expert, but it was too "inside baseball" for it to be useful to me.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Diego Leal

    Great overview of the ad agencies and their current challenges in today's economy where facebook and google are poised to banish them from existence. Great overview of the ad agencies and their current challenges in today's economy where facebook and google are poised to banish them from existence.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Chris Esposo

    A great intro to the ads/marketing industry specifically focused on the challenges they face around disintermediation between the traditional agencies/holding companies like WPP, and their multinational clients caused by social media firms like FB, external firms, and new technologies. The book mostly follows Michael Kassan's rise as a player when he started MediaLink in the early 2000s. Media Link was formed as a catch-all shop that first everything from executive headhunting, consulting, as wel A great intro to the ads/marketing industry specifically focused on the challenges they face around disintermediation between the traditional agencies/holding companies like WPP, and their multinational clients caused by social media firms like FB, external firms, and new technologies. The book mostly follows Michael Kassan's rise as a player when he started MediaLink in the early 2000s. Media Link was formed as a catch-all shop that first everything from executive headhunting, consulting, as well as serving as a connector between traditional agencies and the new technology firms. By "Frenemies", the title of the book refers to several relationships including between the agencies and the tech firms, the agencies and their customers, and the agencies or customers with the mass market consumers, mostly with respect to the laters increasing resistance to consume traditional ad-content, and their use of ad-blockers to prevent content in digital channels. Of interests was the author's contention that consulting firms, systems integrators, and tech firms are increasingly cutting into the agencies pie by offering marketing automation in the digital space, and points out IBMs IX digital ad-shop as exemplary for this trend. This might be true for certain shops like McKinsey and BCG on the strategy side since many of their teams have strong links to executive grade clients in these multinationals, but it is not the case for a PWC or Deloitte, who's pivot away from IT/Systems integrator to digital ads shop is dubious given the lack of strong consulting relationship with high-up clients within these firms that could lead to a "sexy" engagement beyond some tooling or 2nd tier support work. This is more true for an Oracle and also true to an extent at IBM. The agencies don't have much to worry about with these companies, though their real concern should be the other type of "Frenemies", Google, FB, and the other west coast tech firms. These firms are can get the closest to replacing traditional sample-based measurements with event-level data analysis of mobile and web data, though even they are missing final attributions data, i.e. whether a person who looked at a Honda CR-V actually bought one. That's why recent news on potential alliances between a Google and credit card companies like AMEX or Mastercard are interesting as they are potential ways for these firms to avoid the agency umbrella altogether. Beside this contemporary analysis of the sector, there's a lot of biographical material on Kassan, Martin Sorell (former CEO of WPP), Maurice Levy (former CEO of Publicis) etc., Many of these executives come from similar family histories, Russian/Eastern European Jewish emigre communities, whose families had some connection to retailers or media entities in the US. This is also Kassan's background as well, and it becomes apparent how someone like Kassan could have insinuated themselves between these firms, the tech platforms, and the traditional customers by networking and leveraging networks. The real question I was left with was, why have similar firms not been as successful, or is there enough room for just one firm like MediaLink? Or did the book just not have enough space to mention these? Overall an interesting book, great for someone who wants to understand this sector, and wants to go beyond the simple narrative of data=power with respect to marketing challenges faced by CPG and other retailing firms. Highly recommended

  13. 5 out of 5

    Lloyd Fassett

    If you follow GoodRead's average rating, check out the range on this book. One person gave one start and said it was 'too inside baseball'. 2 other's gave 1 star and said it wasn't anything new if you were in the industry. This would be an example of how the book discusses media moving from a mass product - where one review system fits all - to a more customized 1 to 1 digital world. I wish it was more of a structural analysis of how the content of multiple kinds are forcing changes in the advert If you follow GoodRead's average rating, check out the range on this book. One person gave one start and said it was 'too inside baseball'. 2 other's gave 1 star and said it wasn't anything new if you were in the industry. This would be an example of how the book discusses media moving from a mass product - where one review system fits all - to a more customized 1 to 1 digital world. I wish it was more of a structural analysis of how the content of multiple kinds are forcing changes in the advertising world. Instead, it's more like a commentary on the advertising world with a human interest point of view, as opposed to strategic issues analysis. For example, I don't even recall if he tries to say that industry revenues are trending in what direction over 5 year periods. There is a line about a 1-year change. There is a line about what categories are counted. It seems to me that the Advertising industry as it's covered is reacting, not leading the adjustments to what they do. In short, it would have been nice to have a narrative that included a bunch of graphs. That's just me though. The book is for New Yorker a I did enjoy the book. I didn't know who ran revenue at Facebook or that the founder there was out of the office when other people decided they'd be an advertising platform. I didn't know about the Lion Awards in France. I hadn't heard of Michael Kassan. If you're like that, I'd recommend the book. There's a lot of references to the world changing from Med Men to being more data-driven. I believe him, but I wish there were graphs supporting that an enlightening me with the data. Instead, it's kind of like watching Mad Men, which I enjoyed. So there you.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Blair

    I was quite disappointed with this book. Advertising is one of the first industries to embrace and/or be affected by the digital revolution and it is evolving at an incredible rate. It is not being turned upside down for the second time now, despite being an early adopter of digital. As such, advertising - if analysed by a skilled writer - could be a good case study on how digital is reshaping business and how lessons from advertising might influence other industries. While "Frenemies" highlight I was quite disappointed with this book. Advertising is one of the first industries to embrace and/or be affected by the digital revolution and it is evolving at an incredible rate. It is not being turned upside down for the second time now, despite being an early adopter of digital. As such, advertising - if analysed by a skilled writer - could be a good case study on how digital is reshaping business and how lessons from advertising might influence other industries. While "Frenemies" highlighted some of the trends in the business - the rise of in-house agencies, publishers setting up ad agencies, digital giants providing alternative forms of advertising, consulting firms entering the "Traditional" advertising space - it was very superficial and almost gossipy, shaping its point of view from interviews done with a narrow range of players (and overly on Michael Kassan) and not delving into the "reasons why" these trends are occurring. What I was looking for was some analysis and thoughts about the possible opportunities and outcomes of the expected changes in advertising - besides the fact that most of the heads of the large holding companies are ageing without specified successors. This type of value added thinking is sorely lacking in "Frenemies" which is more of a collection of interviews than anything else. Give the book a pass.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Felipe CZ

    A look at how the internet age has forced the advertising industry to change and adapt, becoming more scientfic than creative. Six billion people worlwide use smartphones, outdating other media. Companies like China's Tencent have developed platforms where people can meet, buy and share, gathering their trends and preferences' data along the way. The ability to track what people do online has made it possible to measure advertising campaigns' effectiveness and also divide audiences in smaller se A look at how the internet age has forced the advertising industry to change and adapt, becoming more scientfic than creative. Six billion people worlwide use smartphones, outdating other media. Companies like China's Tencent have developed platforms where people can meet, buy and share, gathering their trends and preferences' data along the way. The ability to track what people do online has made it possible to measure advertising campaigns' effectiveness and also divide audiences in smaller segments that can receive an customized advertisement campaign. But this big data collection is not always easy, and it also threatens our right to privacy, making the Internet giants our "frenemies". But understanding this helped Trump win the election, when his team engaged Cambridge Analytica, a data mining firm. They compiled 4,000 data points on each individual with the potential to support Trump, and then pumped money into social-media campaigns that went to target these individuals directly, and that is how he circumvented mainstream press and took his own message to potential supporters. So now cost-effective campaigns that make use of personal data bring effective results and are today's strategy.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Riti

    The author tracks the way ad agencies have moved from charging commission for jobs to flat fees. Oglivy were the first to start the concept of flat fees which made them instantly into business partners offering the best solutions rather than service providers.Then there was MediaLink- their specialty was to provide adult supervision among chaos- in other words consulting smaller companies and linking them to others. Sellers to buyers, digital companies to brands etc. Saatchi believed in size does The author tracks the way ad agencies have moved from charging commission for jobs to flat fees. Oglivy were the first to start the concept of flat fees which made them instantly into business partners offering the best solutions rather than service providers.Then there was MediaLink- their specialty was to provide adult supervision among chaos- in other words consulting smaller companies and linking them to others. Sellers to buyers, digital companies to brands etc. Saatchi believed in size does matter and acquisitions helped them to increase their global footprint to pitch clients any where. And finally came the frenemies - google and facebook who have the power to rech the consumer directly- without the middlemen- talk about existential threat. In a nutshell, the book, while steers clear of predicting what the future will be, points definitely towards a role reversal, change of control and the new internet laws that empowers the consumers even more. It is often said when something is free- it is you who is the product and not the product. But then, in the era of rampant sharing and communication- who cares whether one becomes a product of manipulation by huge companies? As long as there is perceived value?

  17. 5 out of 5

    Thomas Bodenberg

    A good introduction as to why the marketing/advertising world is significantly different not only from the "Mad Men" days, but also from as recently as 10 years ago. The consumer has much more information from a multitude of sources (albeit some of limited credibility) - we still don't know if that state necessarily results in better decisions! I am certain that the paperback edition will have some substantial revisions - due to the rate of change in the industry, and the impact of the #MeToo mo A good introduction as to why the marketing/advertising world is significantly different not only from the "Mad Men" days, but also from as recently as 10 years ago. The consumer has much more information from a multitude of sources (albeit some of limited credibility) - we still don't know if that state necessarily results in better decisions! I am certain that the paperback edition will have some substantial revisions - due to the rate of change in the industry, and the impact of the #MeToo movement (which claimed Martin Sorrell in early 2018 and probably hangs in the air over other players in this space, yet to be revealed.) I am most award of changes - Advertising Age, cited as the bible of the industry, has shrunk from a wholly paid circulation weekly of over 100 pages to a controlled-circulation (read "free") of half its former size, issued biweekly.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Ryan

    What a mess. “Frenemies” is the cute way Auletta refers to the beneficial yet often self-defeating relationship between agencies, their clients and how advertising, marketing and public relations functions are being disrupted by technology, data mining, Google, Facebook, bad keynote speaker comments, salty language and big personalities. There’s not a lot of new information here — and, given the attention brought to key figures within like Les Moonves, a lot of it is already outdated. Most proble What a mess. “Frenemies” is the cute way Auletta refers to the beneficial yet often self-defeating relationship between agencies, their clients and how advertising, marketing and public relations functions are being disrupted by technology, data mining, Google, Facebook, bad keynote speaker comments, salty language and big personalities. There’s not a lot of new information here — and, given the attention brought to key figures within like Les Moonves, a lot of it is already outdated. Most problematic, it’s not really packaged into a coherent, dot-connecting case study about the overall state of the multi-billion communications industry. Instead, it’s a mix of essays on different topics as crystallized through the lens of whatever business person he’s focusing on for 20 pages or so. Skip it.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Anthony

    Too many names, positions, back stories of said ad giants who are titans of the current industry, but interestingly, he points out (or quotes someone) that there's no future pipeline for executives to follow in their footsteps. Perhaps because the industry is changing so much that it's impossible to recreate that environment? That would be something to explore, but not at book length. I was on the fence about buying - I did...and I'm not finishing it. Too disjointed, as others have pointed out. I Too many names, positions, back stories of said ad giants who are titans of the current industry, but interestingly, he points out (or quotes someone) that there's no future pipeline for executives to follow in their footsteps. Perhaps because the industry is changing so much that it's impossible to recreate that environment? That would be something to explore, but not at book length. I was on the fence about buying - I did...and I'm not finishing it. Too disjointed, as others have pointed out. I've gotten almost halfway through, and it feels like a slog. What we learned? 1) Things are not as they were, 2) Procurement departments are to blame for the emphasis on cost-cutting at the expense of quality, 3) Things change, people don't like change, especially when it threatens their livelihood 4) Rinse, repeat

  20. 5 out of 5

    Rob Anderson

    Interesting if you follow the advertising industry or if you’ve worked in it, but not as deep a dive as I was hoping for/expecting. It’s an odd mix of gossipy tell-all (with a particular focus on what people are wearing or what they’re “sipping” — lattes, martinis, etc. — in given moments) and industry analysis that only occasionally succeeds. Later chapters that address content demands, subscription services, streaming and native ads are some of the best, but it’s mostly a light-weight look at Interesting if you follow the advertising industry or if you’ve worked in it, but not as deep a dive as I was hoping for/expecting. It’s an odd mix of gossipy tell-all (with a particular focus on what people are wearing or what they’re “sipping” — lattes, martinis, etc. — in given moments) and industry analysis that only occasionally succeeds. Later chapters that address content demands, subscription services, streaming and native ads are some of the best, but it’s mostly a light-weight look at some very powerful and wealthy individuals who speak mostly in annoying business jargon and take catty swipes at each other.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Alex Moskalyuk

    A bit of a puff piece on Michael Kassan. Skipping those paragraphs would perhaps cut the book length in half. The analysis of the advertising marketplace and all possible disruptors, which usually starts towards the end of the chapter, is quite good. The author goes into needless details, e.g. the names and positions of everyone who was at the dinner table, even though only one or two people are then needed to further the story. The editing could benefit from photos, helping to tie a face to a n A bit of a puff piece on Michael Kassan. Skipping those paragraphs would perhaps cut the book length in half. The analysis of the advertising marketplace and all possible disruptors, which usually starts towards the end of the chapter, is quite good. The author goes into needless details, e.g. the names and positions of everyone who was at the dinner table, even though only one or two people are then needed to further the story. The editing could benefit from photos, helping to tie a face to a name, as well as graphs and charts, as industry stats and numbers are discussed in dry paragraphs spelling out each revenue figure or growth rate.

  22. 4 out of 5

    John Hopkins

    I started this book with some excitement, after hearing the author in a long interview on the radio. He vividly described the damage that's been done to news media by changes in the advertising landscape -- a subject that greatly interests me. But the book is filled with inside baseball about bigshots and disrupters in the advertising industry. The industry's changes and recent impact on media really were not explored here. Perhaps that will be Auletta's next book. Meanwhile, if you want to know I started this book with some excitement, after hearing the author in a long interview on the radio. He vividly described the damage that's been done to news media by changes in the advertising landscape -- a subject that greatly interests me. But the book is filled with inside baseball about bigshots and disrupters in the advertising industry. The industry's changes and recent impact on media really were not explored here. Perhaps that will be Auletta's next book. Meanwhile, if you want to know what became of the "Mad Men" world, this one might be the one for you.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Dancall

    A very timely analysis of how advertising has changed over the past decades, and the way that agencies are trying to adjust to it. Ken Auletta looks at the 'Frenemies' (Google, Facebook), consultancies like Accenture, software companies like Salesforce, and the new breed of agencies that are all trying to disrupt marketing and take revenue from the traditional players. I'd particularly recommend chapters 8 (about media agencies), 9 & 16 (about data and targeting), and 18 (a look into the future) A very timely analysis of how advertising has changed over the past decades, and the way that agencies are trying to adjust to it. Ken Auletta looks at the 'Frenemies' (Google, Facebook), consultancies like Accenture, software companies like Salesforce, and the new breed of agencies that are all trying to disrupt marketing and take revenue from the traditional players. I'd particularly recommend chapters 8 (about media agencies), 9 & 16 (about data and targeting), and 18 (a look into the future).

  24. 4 out of 5

    Patricia Ponder

    Was excited to read this but it's a little too "inside baseball" for me -- and I'm inside! I'm a marketing person and I found the first couple of chapters (that's as far as I got so please know that when deciding the value of this review) very slow going. On the one hand, the author sought to animate the boring stuff with detailed descriptions of the person who called out ad agencies for taking kickbacks, and on the other, he explained almost nothing about how things do or should work. I gave up Was excited to read this but it's a little too "inside baseball" for me -- and I'm inside! I'm a marketing person and I found the first couple of chapters (that's as far as I got so please know that when deciding the value of this review) very slow going. On the one hand, the author sought to animate the boring stuff with detailed descriptions of the person who called out ad agencies for taking kickbacks, and on the other, he explained almost nothing about how things do or should work. I gave up.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Thegoodnamesweretaken

    While there were some interesting moments, the storytelling seemed far too insular. Instead of truly introducing us to the key players, the story felt more like someone trying to impress via constant “name dropping” of ad world execs. There are certainly lessons to be learned if you are in the ad or ad-adjacent world (which, full disclosure, I was), but for others, I’d imagine it to be a slog, with no transferable insights.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Ogi Ogas

    My ratings of books on Goodreads are solely a crude ranking of their utility to me, and not an evaluation of literary merit, entertainment value, social importance, humor, insightfulness, scientific accuracy, creative vigor, suspensefulness of plot, depth of characters, vitality of theme, excitement of climax, satisfaction of ending, or any other combination of dimensions of value which we are expected to boil down through some fabulous alchemy into a single digit.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Ross Tierney

    This is a really engaging look at the turmoil the advertising industry is going through at present. It follows many of the major players in the game. As is alluded to often, this is no longer the creative-driven world of Don Draper; it is a much murkier mashup of data and integration and targeting and AI and hunches (but no one knows for sure). Certainly a valuable read for anyone whose work relates to advertising.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Deb Hill

    This book is an interesting assessment of the challenges faced by all aspects of modern advertising. It also presents historical accounts of the rise of several moguls of holding companies and other contenders of the business world. My only criticism is the underlying bias towards President Trump that is implied.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Stephanie Rogers

    While the alledged doom and gloom around the state of the ad industry shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone working in this space (and much of it is focused on the big holding company shops vs smaller/independent ones), several passages read like a gossip column. Very entertaining! While the alledged doom and gloom around the state of the ad industry shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone working in this space (and much of it is focused on the big holding company shops vs smaller/independent ones), several passages read like a gossip column. Very entertaining!

  30. 5 out of 5

    Peter

    It is a good intro to modern advertising, but doesn’t really cover new ground for the initiated.Auletta’s patented approach of focusing on innovative execs doesn’t work very well here because most of the profiled heroes here are not very exciting.

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